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Gaming News Round-Up: September 13th, 2004

Today's round-up includes a little more monkeying around from Sega, some spiritual healing on the move from Dwango and Beliefnet, a Cronenberg-esque licensing deal from E...
Today's round-up includes a little more monkeying around from Sega, some spiritual healing on the move from Dwango and Beliefnet, a Cronenberg-esque licensing deal from Empire and VU Games, and further Japanese price shenanigans for Sony's PSX. - Sega of America has confirmed the release of Super Monkey Ball Deluxe for PlayStation 2 and Xbox early next year. The new title, continuing the franchise started in 2001 on the GameCube, will feature 300 stages (114 from Super Monkey Ball, 140 from Super Monkey Ball 2, and 46 Deluxe-exclusive boards), and will retail for $29.99, bringing reasonably-priced Monkey Flight to all current-generation consoles. - Mobile developer and publisher Dwango Wireless has announced a deal with religious website Beliefnet, Inc to produce and distribute spiritual-themed and religious content on mobile phones, with the licensing agreement apparently primed to include 'spiritual-themed mobile games'. Steve Waldman, CEO of Beliefnet, commented that he is '...pleased to be able to partner with Dwango to further leverage our brand and provide our audience with another outlet to fulfill their spiritual needs.' - Vivendi Universal Games has announced a deal with European publisher Empire Interactive to distribute Finnish-developed PS2/Xbox 'destructive racing game' FlatOut in the U.S. during 2005. This deal follows on from a long-term U.S. distribution agreement between VU Games and Empire, originally signed back in 2001, which has included the release of games such as Starsky & Hutch. The press release announcing this deal briefly mentions the 'revolutionary "rag-doll" physics' in the game, but doesn't elaborate. Further research indicates that this refers to occasions when the player's car crashes and the car's driver smashes through the windscreen, something European gamers will get to experience ahead of time, this November. - According to Sony's Japanese online store, and relayed via consumer site GameSpot, the Sony PSX, hybridizing a PlayStation 2 and DVR/DVD burner, has officially dropped in price from 59,800 yen ($545) to 44,800 yen ($409) for the 160GB model, and from 79,800 yen ($728) to 59,800 yen ($545) for the 250GB model. We previously reported on slightly more extreme PSX price cuts early last week - these cuts were likely unofficial and retailer-specific. American and European release dates for the PSX are still, as yet, unconfirmed.

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